February 18, 2013

Investing the Gifts

Ann's post popped up in my inbox today and when I opened it, images of pure joy and pure pain flashed across my screen. She and her farmer husband and six kids are in Haiti. Words of sharp conviction pierced me as I read. It suddenly seemed like snow days and corduroy shirts were hardly adequate for the gratitude list.  But then I remember my pastor's sermon on Sunday about how God has trusted us with what we have, and in the end we will be asked how we invested it.  Somehow on this providential path, I've been blessed with much, way beyond what I could ever need, even when the checkbook says zero before the month is out.  Why?  Why does he trust me with it, and what does he want me to do with it?  Suddenly when I put the two and two together of Ann's post and my pastor's sermon, I see a priority shift taking place.  But, I'm still thankful for that vision of the hot air balloon against the blue sky and that M&M Blast because everything begins and ends with God, and if it's in my life, I'm thankful for it.  But the next time I think to swipe that plastic debit card, or reach into my pocket for a few coins, or plop on the couch and waste time like it flows from a faucet and I can get more, or not share my talents with people who need Jesus,  I pray that I will stop and ask God if that is where he wants to spend his money, his resources, his time, his talents, his gifts.  With every moment we serve God, or we serve ourselves.  We make that choice countless times a day.  A defined life is not passive or without intent. May my intention always be focused upon the will and glory of God.

I'm thinking about all of this as I continue to share the count of  blessings that I've been adding to my list this week.

1419.  A bright red hot air balloon hovering over the parking lot as I walked to my car after work (And the cell phone that lets me snap these photos to share!)

1420.  A half snow day.  Working in education means snow days on occasion.  We closed at 1:00 one day last week. This meant I didn't have to take leave to go to the dentist and then take Mom to get her hearing aid fixed.

1421.  My husband's corduroy shirt, very huggable!

1422.  Holding my husband's big warm hand on a cold winter day.

1423.  An M&M blast from Sonic.  (It was my last one for awhile.  I'm preparing for a fast so I'm in the process now of eliminating foods one by one! Sugar was the first to go!)

1424.  Big fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky

1425.  Ordering flowers for Mom from Dad.  Dad has always treated Mom like a queen and was a true romantic before Alzheimer's began to cripple his brain. Valentine's Day and Anniversaries usually saw Mom with two dozen roses and maybe some new jewelry.  In recent years, I have helped Dad continue this tradition. I always talk to him before ordering flowers for Mom because even if he won't remember that we talked about it, I want the flowers to be from him and not from me.  He would have wanted to order flowers for Mom, and he would have wanted her to have them, so I carry on the tradition, and as he always did, I sign the card, "All my love, . . ."  It's such a blessing to do this for both of them.

1426.  My DSLR camera and the talent to use it.  I took a few pictures this week with my DSLR, not many, but it was fun to get back to it. I'm thankful I have that camera and can share what I see through that lens.  It's been lying around collecting dust for too long, the camera and the talent.

1427.  The sound of helicopters overhead

1428.  A heart shaped morning.  You can read about that here.

1429.  Sharing a private story and a private victory with friends who can well up with tears right along side me, and keep it all safe

1430.  Psalm 5:3 - "Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly."

1431.  Being part of the provision.  You're part of the provision too.  I hope to write about it this week and tell you how fried chicken made me see it more clearly.

I'm also sharing with Michelle DeRusha at Hear it on Sunday Share it on Monday.

To see more of my gratitude list (1-1418) click here.

If you'd like to see my pastor's sermon on investing your life and resources, I've embedded it here.


  1. Find it so wonderful to take the time to actually stop and appreciate all that God has given us! Great post.

  2. What a great reminder that EVERYTHING I do should be bathed in prayer, because if HE doesn't want me to do it, it's not best! Thanks!

  3. I love how you count your blessings:) I look at people going into mission fields outside my county boundaries - and I have learned that I am to bloom where I am planted - that right now my mission field is where I work, the people my boys brush against in their daily living, who find their way into my kitchen - and the ones who don't, that they tell me about struggling because they create challenges for my boys - that they need prayer. There's a huge mission field within these county boundaries:) Blessings to you this week - hoping I get a snow day:)

  4. I try to remember there are so many with less than I, but still manage to be grateful. Thank you for the reminder Stephani.

  5. I think you are honoring God right here on your blog! Another inspirational post that is helping me on my journey. Glad to hear you are getting out with your camera. So many other blessings. None are too small; all are significant. Have a great day! :)

  6. I love your list...and your heart. I especially love 1429, 1431, 1422....Wait...I like them all. :) Your sharing inspires me...thank you.

  7. I read that too... counting gifts around the world. Regardless of the life God gives, their are gifts in it. Using new eyes to see the gifts in a Third World life; wouldn't that teach us all new lessons about gratitude!


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